Thulukhanam Shanmugham (19 June 1920 – 13 December 2012)
“Football has given me everything,” said Shanmugam. “I am very thankful for the wonderful game as it kept me in shape and continues to give me everything I need to this day. I have always stayed away from bad habits. I have not smoked or had a drink (alcohol) in my life and that is the secret of my long life.” - T. Shanmugham
A student of Austin Town High School and RBANMS High School, Shanmugamrepresented Maharaja Socials and Bangalore Student Football Club in theBangalore Senior Division League but his big jump came when he joined the Sullivan Police Sports Club of the Bangalore Police Force in 1941.
“I started by watching the Britishers playing at the Garrison ground and Police ground. We used to practice with tennis balls in school and it helped us learn how to control the ball." “They taught me a lot. They always encouraged us and it played a big part in what I have become.” The captain of the Mysore team which won the Santosh trophy in 1946 and 1952, the midfielder was part of the Indian team at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics as well as the Asian Games gold-winning team of 1951.
He said playing barefoot gave the Indians a distinct advantage but when boots were made mandatory, they simply could not make the change. “After the Helsinki Olympics in 1952, we were asked to start wearing boots. We just could not adjust to it.”
Shanmugam, who also had a bright innings as a coach, guiding Karnataka to Santosh Trophy success and Goa’s Salgaocar Sports Club to Federation Cup triumphs. Olympian T Shanmugam, one of India's most illustrious footballers, passed away due to a respiratory problem.
Shanmugam not only was a great footballer, but also a great student of the game, which flowered when he took over the mantle of a coach. He was quite an extraordinary coach and was instrumental in Karnataka lifting Santosh trophy in 1983-84 season. He also coached the state team to success when it lifted the Santosh Trophy in 1968-69 along with Basheer as chief coach at Cuttack Nationals.
Shanmugam was much in demand as a coach not only in Karnataka, but also in other states. He dutifully associated himself for 14-long years with Goa's leading Salgaocar club and enabled it to win myriad tournaments, including Rovers Cup in 1988, Chakola Cup in Kerala, Maharajah Cup in Sikkim.
He played for Karnataka in Santosh Trophy between 1944 and 1954.
During 1968 National Institute of Sports, he was deputed to Japan for coaching under FIFA along with legends including P K Banerjee, Jarnail Singh and Chunni Goswamy.
Salgaocar FC President Shivanand Salgaocar said "He is one of the finest coaches that we had and an absolute gentleman." Salgaocar has often stated that Shanmugam changed the style of football in Goa and actually introduced the renowned Tiki-Taka style of Spanish football which was associated with Salgaocar in the 70’s and 80’s. "He was an upright police officer, a great player and an exemplary Coach. But most importantly he was a great human being." he stated. Shanmugam was a police officer and served in the Mysore City Police for thirty-five years. In that time he worked as asecurity officer for two governors.
It was the duo of technical director Shanmugam and captain Mauricio Afonso who helped India face up to mighty teams like Russia, Hungary and Poland in the inaugural edition of the Nehru Cup at Fatorda in 1989.
"I would have made a lot of money in Calcutta (now Kolkata ) but Salgaocar treated me quite well, and most importantly,with respect. I never wanted to leave," Shanmugam had said.
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